Ho Ho Hos: 10 Onscreen Holiday Hookers

Streetwalkers and Santa, together at last.

If you’re watching a movie set during the holidays, you’re bound to hear a Christmas song, see tinsel and roll your eyes at all that gooey sentimentality. But let’s not forget about hookers. No one gives these ladies (and one gent) time off for eggnog so you’ll still find them working up some holiday spirits while Scrooge discovers the meaning of Christmas. 

Jamie Lee Curtis, Trading Places

Perhaps the most famous bearer of both holiday spirit and trashy cheetah print jackets is Ophelia. Not only does she let Louis Winthrope III crash at her pad when he’s tossed on the streets as part of a social experiment, she also helps him and Billy Ray Valentine con the heartless Duke brothers by masquerading as a Swedish backpacking bimbo. So, whatever, Hamlet. We’ll take this brassy working girl over your mopey girlfriend any day of the week. 

Vinessa Shaw, Eyes Wide Shut

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s absurd sexcapades all spring from one fateful holiday party, and Vinessa Shaw is their first detour from boring married life. Well, really just Tom’s. Upset that his wife had a fantasy about another man, he goes after a prostitute named Domino. Like pretty much everything Tom Cruise does in this movie (and, lately, in life), it’s horribly ill-advised. 

Anna Madeley, In Bruges

It may be hard out there for a pimp, but it’s not exactly rainbows and sunshine for the paid companion of a slightly psychotic dwarf. You have to listen to his racist rants, hang out with his mobster pals, and endure his drug frenzies — all while everyone else you know is celebrating Christmas. But if you’ve been a really good hooker all year long, Colin Farrell might just come by and judo chop him. 

Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential

Being a Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute in ‘50s L.A. is a thankless job, as is being the femme fatale at the heart of a police corruption tale. But Kim Basinger takes it on with zeal, mystifying and seducing a good portion of the L.A.P.D., even though those jackasses couldn’t spare a holiday party invite. 

Cara Seymour, American Psycho

The yuletide is a natural time for axes and massive blood spatter. Or at least that’s what Patrick Bateman would have us believe. Nothing brings out the Christmas cheer in Bateman quite like dissecting—in the most literal sense—women, so when one enterprising prostitute makes a break for it, much like dropping down a chimney, he drops a chainsaw down the stairs. 

Jackie Swanson, Lethal Weapon

What an entrance. You see a clearly well-off lady of the night relaxing in her swanky L.A. apartment, enjoying a little “Jingle Bell Rock,” and you think she’s going to be alright. Then she jumps out the window, going splat on a car below, and all hell breaks loose. Picking out Christmas presents for three kids and dealing with dead hookers? Murtaugh really is too old for this shit. 

Robert Downey Jr., Less Than Zero 

Holiday hookerdom is an equal-opportunity business venture, as evidenced by Robert Downey, Jr.’s turn as junkie male ho Julian in Less Than Zero. Due to a massive debt, Julian is pushed into prostitution by his dealer Rip. While we can totally buy men and women the world over paying for a night with Downey, what’s a little harder to swallow is the fact that James Spader once intimidated Iron Man. 

Louisa Moritz, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

When R.P. McMurphy throws an impromptu holiday bash for his mental ward buddies, he makes sure to hit everything on the essential party checklist: booze, tunes and hookers. Enter Rose and her pal Candy, who makes a man out of stammering Billy Bibbit. 

Gloria Grahame, It’s a Wonderful Life

Even Mr. Smalltown Values himself (a.k.a. George Bailey) hung out with a hooker. In Bailey’s actual universe, Violet Bick’s merely a shameless flirt. But in the alternate Potterville timeline, she’s a straight-up prostitute being carted away by the cops. Getting passed over by your childhood crush, going broke, and – in another life, granted – prowling the streets of Potterville for johns? She’s the one who should’ve wished she’d never been born. 

Lynne Marie Stewart, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Christmas childhood memories can often skew traumatic — all it takes is one smart-ass older sibling screaming about how Kris Kringle isn’t real and suddenly, even your new BB gun can’t console you. But Charlie’s holidays as a boy take the cake. The most wonderful time of the year gets a little less wonderful and a whole lot more scarring when Mom’s whoring herself out to “Santas” on the side.

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